Tuesday, 21 January 2020 18:35

Dow pulls back from record highs as U.S. stocks follow Asian shares lower

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U.S. stocks traded mostly lower Tuesday, as investors returned from a holiday and found few reasons to take equities higher following a brisk, record-setting run-up for the major benchmarks in recent weeks.

U.S. markets were closed Monday in observance of Martin King Luther Jr. Day.

How are benchmarks faring?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.23%[1], fell 51 points, or 0.2%, at 29,298, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.23%[2] shed 4 points, or 0.1%, at 3,326 and the Nasdaq Composite index COMP, -0.24%[3] was virtually unchanged at 9,389.

Last week, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.24%[4] all posted their best weekly gains since Aug. 30, according to FactSet data.

DJIA, -0.23%[5] The Dow has risen for five of the past six weeks, with a year-to-date return of 2.6%. The S&P 500 has gained for two consecutive weeks, with a year-to-date return of 2.9% and the Nasdaq has risen for six straight weeks, with a year-to-date return of 4.6%.

What’s driving the market?

Quelling some of last week’s record-setting enthusiasm to start this week were fresh concerns about sluggish economic growth outside of the U.S., the start of a presidential Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, and worries that a respiratory virus in China, which has infected hundreds of people, could harm an already-weak expansion in Asia.

Softness in markets Tuesday is being driven “by a combination of fears related to the virus and investor fatigue,” said Brent chief investment strategist at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. “It provides an opportunity for some people to take some profits.”

On Monday, the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, downgraded global economic growth forecast [6]from 3.4% to 3.3% for 2020, with the organization projecting that the U.S. economy projected to grow by 2.0% this year, a cut of 0.1 percentage points compared with the IMF’s October 2019 forecast.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will technically begin Tuesday, with Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell submitting a proposal[7]that could result in a speedy trial and Trump possibly being acquitted of wrongdoing.

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